Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater folds
After ailing for years, the Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater has breathed its last. Reps have announced that the company has disbanded and vacated the Bouwerie Lane Theater, its East Village home since 1974.
Three company members — artis-tic director Ari Edelson, board chair-man Peter Finn and managing director Jennifer Sanders — have already regrouped as a theater dubbed the Exchange. Beginning April 15 on Theater Row, the Exchange will mount rep stagings of “Realism,” by Anthony Neilsen, and “Jump!,” by Lisa McGhee.
Founded in 1971 by the late Eve Adamson, Jean Cocteau Rep thrived for decades as an enclave for hip, ensemble-focused legit. In 2004 five longtime members of the acting com-pany split to form Phoenix Theater Ensemble. Ensuing years saw a con-stant change of leadership, board member resignations and an ill-fated 2006 partnership with New Orleans-based theater EgoPo. That pairing dissolved shortly after its first co-production, an experimental take on Genet’s “The Maids,” drew ire from the playwright’s estate.
An extra headache came last year when owners of the Bouwerie Lane doubled the theater’s rent. There’s no word on who the next tenant may be.